It is important to note that with routing protocols, a well-engineered data network is self-healing and redundant, thus increasing the reliability of the network.

IP networks today use two main types of routing protocols: distance-vector routing and link-state routing. Within these two routing protocols are interior and exterior routing protocols.

Simply explained, distance-vector routing is concerned with how many hops (routers) are traversed, whereas link-state routing is concerned mainly with the state of the interfaces the router supports (in other words, whether they are up or down; hence, the name link state).

Interior routing protocols are usually used to update routers under the control of one administrative authority (autonomous system). Exterior routing protocols are usually used to enable networks in different autonomous systems to pass routing updates. A good example of an exterior routing protocol is the use of BGP on the Internet.

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